Avery Dennison congratulates the University of Michigan on its third place finish and Solar Team Twente on its fifth place finish in the 2011 VEOLIA World Solar Car Challenge. More than forty competitors started the 1,800 mile/3,000 km, week-long race through the Australian Outback, from Darwin to Adelaide, on October 16. This year's competitors faced all the elements of the Outback – brush fires, dust storms, high winds and extreme temperature swings – during the race.
Despite the challenging conditions and mechanical difficulties, the University of Michigan's third place finish makes the team the only one from the US to finish in the top three in two consecutive World Challenge races. Solar Team Twente's fifth place finish is the team's best placement in the race.
21Connect, the solar car from the University of Twente and Saxion University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, and Quantum, the University of Michigan solar team car, were powered by the sun and protected by Avery Dennison films during the five day race through the Outback.
The finishes on both teams' solar cars were lighter than those painted on competitors' cars. Paint involves many layers and hours of preparation, and is the traditional method used to decorate the bottom half of the car. Bringing Avery Dennison's pressure-sensitive wrap technology to the World Solar Challenge was a new improvement giving both teams an advantage.
The Michigan team is also sponsored by the Detroit Three, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, as these companies work to develop better electric cars.
"The team works closely with industry in Detroit and with the university. The technologies in the car are things we expect to see on the road in the next decade, such as a super-lightweight carbon-fiber body, a high-performance battery, and a motor that's 98 percent efficient," said Chris Hilger, a senior from Northville, Michigan and the team's business director.
The University of Michigan's Quantum solar car was wrapped with Avery MPI 1005 Supercast Easy Apply RS, a digitally printable pressure-sensitive vinyl that is repositionable and slideable, making application easy, in addition it features air egress technology, allowing air bubbles to escape.
21Connect was wrapped with Avery Dennison's newest product, Avery Supreme Wrapping Film, an opaque film that can be used to change the color of a car instead of paint. The product line is available in 33 colors with a variety of finishes and textures. It is also super-conformable. A perfect match for 21Connect with its compound curves.
21Connect Team captain Siebe Brinkhof said, "The car was perfect, technically sound and thus proved to be a great design. We did not have punctured tires or any mechanical defects and drove a perfect race taking into account the conditions. The four elements earth, water, air and fire challenged us. Bush fires, sun, clouds, rain and camping in the Outback. They should have called this race the World Element Challenge. From start till finish, it was a nerve-racking endeavor. The team is euphoric and we're grateful for the support of all who have made this possible."